Two days down, three rounds complete, and a whole host of new players to deal with in the AFC North for the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, and Cleveland Browns.
Once again, the Ravens — much to everyone’s chagrin outside their fanbase — had a tremendous day in the draft, cleaning up defensively with some insane value in the second and third round after landing Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round Thursday night.
At No. 45 overall in the second round, the Ravens grabbed Michigan EDGE David Ojabo before then landing Connecticut DT Travis Jones at No. 76 overall, giving the Ravens two legitimate building blocks in the trenches.
Ojabo will most likely miss the entire 2022 season while recovering from a torn Achilles suffered on the final rep of his Pro Day, but he’s a high-ceiling guy that is still figuring out how to play football, much like fellow EDGE Odafe Oweh, who had a tremendous rookie season in 2021 for the Ravens.
As for Jones, he’s a plug-and-play interior defensive lineman with great strength and some surprising burst, which will help the Ravens rebuild on the fly in the trenches.
In Cincinnati, the Bengals continue to build a formidable defense for defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.
After grabbing Michigan safety Daxton Hill in the first round Thursday night, the Bengals cleaned up defensively on Friday night, grabbing Nebraska cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt and Florida defensive end Zachary Carter, addressing some needs in impressive fashion.
The Bengals traded up with Tampa Bay to land Taylor-Britt, a physically punishing cornerback that tested off the charts at the Combine, while Cincinnati sat tight and landed Carter, who also tested very well and has the potential to develop into a serviceable starter down the line.
It’s clear what the Bengals want, especially with an explosive offense on the other side. Cincinnati wants guys that can cover and rush the passer because they expect to be up big throughout games, putting teams in comeback mode. It makes sense after the season the Bengals just had.
Finally, in Cleveland, the Browns made their 2022 NFL Draft debut on Day 2 after not having a first-round pick Thursday night.
Getting on the board, the Browns grabbed Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson, UAB EDGE Alex Wright, and Purdue wide receiver David Bell on Day 2, plugging some holes on the roster.
Emerson is a long, physical corner that profiles into exactly what Cleveland wants in its corners across from Denzel Ward. Emerson can now pair with Greedy Williams and Greg Newsome to give the Browns a very deep cornerback room.
Wright profiles as a rotational defensive end in the Browns’ system, one that should help replace reps from Jadaveon Clowney, while Bell is an ideal replacement at a much cheaper value for Jarvis Landry in the slot, giving the Browns a physical weapon over the middle of the field for new QB Deshaun Watson.
On Day 3 Saturday, the Browns have six picks, including three fourth-rounders. The Bengals hold four picks, including two in the seventh round, and the Ravens hold seven picks, including six fourth-rounders.